Notes and Editorial Reviews
These works have been well served on disc, from the classic Rostropovich/Richter to the recent Schiff/Fellner (both on Philips). This set certainly belongs among the great ones, and it offers sonics of breathtaking naturalness and realism. Pieter Wispelwey and Dejan Lazic work exceptionally well together. Two strong-willed artists, everything that they do serves the music, not least in the three sets of variations, which are chock-full of personality and clear delight in Beethoven's early compositional virtuosity (the set based on Handel's "See the conqu'ring hero comes" is especially impressive). In the two early sonatas, with their curiously structured slow-fast-fast form, Lazic and
Wispelwey take care to differentiate the two successive quick movements in terms of both tempo and character so as to maximize each work's scheme of contrasts.
In Op. 69 it's wonderful to hear how much drama they bring to the long opening movement, with vivid dynamic contrasts that at the same time never compromise the music's basic pulse. Listen to how sensitive Lazic is to the need to back off in the exposition's triplet theme, so that the low notes of the cello don't get buried. Or consider the duo's magnificently moving realization of Beethoven's "con molto sentimento d'affetto" designation in the adagio of Op. 102 No. 2. This is great playing by any standard, made all the more enticing by Channel Classics' state-of-the-art sonics both in stereo or 5.0 multichannel surround formats. Discrete microphone placement never distorts the ideal balances that the players bring to their music making, but at the same time, particularly in SACD-surround, the performances have a vividness and three-dimensionality that sounds positively uncanny at times. A magnificent achievement on all fronts. [12/5/2005]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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